Collecting Qi to the Dantian

ACUPUNCTURE POINTS Laogong {see page 58) and Ren Channel (see page 64)

1 Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and your back straight.

2 Shift your weight slightly to the left and start to raise your left hand to the side of the body.

3 Continue to bring the left arm upwards to the Sky Eye (see page 66) and at the same time move the body back to the centre in the starting position.

4 When the left hand reaches the Sky Eye, start to shift the body to the right and lift the right arm out to the side of the body. Both hands will move continuously in a cycling motion, so when one hand is at mid-chest, the other hand will be out to the side of the body. The body follows whichever hand starts to lift upwards.

5 Let the right hand continue upwards to the Sky Eye and the left hand sink to the Lower Dantian.

Keep repeating the above movements and cycling your arms to the left and right. As one hand raises, the other hand should be moving downwards, both balanced.

6 To finish the movement, let both hands sink one at a time back to the Lower Dantian and then straighten the legs.

BREATHING

As one hand raises, breathe in and when the other hand raises on the other side of the body, breathe out. Breathe naturally through your nose. When doing this exercise, you do not need to think about your breathing too much. It is more important to be relaxed.

CONCENTRATION

Make sure that your eyes follow the rising hand. Both hands should move continuously, balancing themselves between top and bottom. If one hand is at the Sky Eye, then the other should be at the Lower Dant-ian. In this way your hands are always opposite and balanced. If you find that you cannot keep the balance between the hands as you move them simultaneously, then it means that one side of your brain is stronger than the other or that you are doing the movements too quickly, not connecting with your breathing.

BACKGROUND/HISTORY

If you have done Green Sea Swimming Dragon Gong (a form which is part of the Qigong syllabus that I teach), you will recognise that this Healthy Living Gong movement comes from the Swimming Dragon movement, Fostering Qi in a Circle. However, unlike Fostering Qi in a Circle, we do not walk but stay in one place. However, at the end of these exercises there is a walking exercise. It is based on Collecting Qi to the Dantian.

HEALTH BENEFITS

This movement is very good for coordination. In the West, looking good externally is the main emphasis for health. Coordination is not considered, even though it actually plays a major role in health. If someone moves clumsily, it means they will be prone to strokes and high blood pressure in the future. The brain plays a great part in our health. We cannot have good health without the brain being able to think clearly and control the movements of the body. For example, if you want to move your left arm, but you usually use only the right arm, your left side will be weak. Unless you work to balance both sides of the body equally, your weak side will not work properly when you want to move it, so the right side of the brain will develop a problem. This is because the energy in the body crosses over, the left brain controlling the right side of the body, etc.

When we let our emotions get too strong, like losing our temper or doing something that uses more energy than we have, like lifting something very heavy, then the weak side of the brain will be affected. This is because there is not enough blood and Qi to balance the brain and body together. The brain will not be able to cope with the stimulus and it might lead to a stroke. So good coordination is very important as it avoids imbalances in the brain and keeps us healthy and younger.

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